A large part of sustainable chicken farming is profitability. Profits and growth can be more consistent, predictable, and in line with your personal or business goals if your methods can sustain production.
But what does it take to develop a sustainability plan for poultry farming? How can sustainably raised chickens help you reach your financial goals as a production facility or self-sufficient family? And finally, what kind of difference can sustainable poultry farming make for your bottom line?
Discover the link between sustainable chicken farming and profitable chicken farming with answers to these questions and more.
Getting into the chicken industry can be a rewarding and lucrative experience. You may earn extra money selling eggs, selling fresh meat alongside your produce in a roadside stand, or putting chicken breasts, legs, and wings on family tables. You’ll also enjoy caring for some of the planet’s most beautiful and unique creatures.
Sustainable chicken farming doesn’t automatically give you the right to attach a certified-organic label to your eggs and meat; however, it can positively impact the environment, your animals, consumers, and your bottom line.
At Freedom Ranger Hatchery, our chickens can roam freely and naturally, contributing to our sustainable poultry production. Sustainable development of chickens is possible, and you can do it on your chicken farm—no matter its size—with a bit of preparation and understanding.
With correct management, sustainable chicken farming joins birds with the land and the farm in a way that encourages the good health and well-being of the farm, the land, the humans, and the birds.
Sustainable chicken farming means being responsible for the health and safety of your chickens. Sustainable chicken farmers must be excellent land, water, and feed management stewards. They must also raise birds humanely and justly to promote longevity and profitability.
Raising chickens has a more minor impact than almost any other animal-agriculture industry. Compared to chicken production in 1965, today’s chicken farming has half the environmental impact it once did. You can use that fact to raise awareness about animal husbandry practices, boosting the entire chicken industry’s profile and making it more desirable to consumers.
Here are a few ways you can raise chickens sustainably:
Will you be raising chickens as a hobby? Are you hoping to add food to your family’s table? Or do you want to develop a market and create a profitable business? The market for egg and meat sales is growing and can include farmer’s markets, farm-to-table restaurants, local supermarkets, and even larger grocery chains. Clearly defining your goals will help you to develop a plan to maintain a sustainable chicken operation.
Maybe you’ve been advised to diversify your financial investments because some do better at times than others. That’s the same thinking behind adding chickens to any size farming operation.
When you responsibly diversify with chickens, you will make your farm more sustainable. Not only will you be adding an additional income stream, but you will also provide insurance against underperformance in other areas.
Free-range chickens do not live in cages and have access to natural daylight for at least eight hours daily. They also have at least 1.23 square feet of floor space to nest, perch, and dust bathe.
Pasture-raised poultry has 1.8 square feet of indoor floor space per bird and continuous access to a vegetation-covered outdoor area to roam and forage.
The method you choose is entirely up to you, and either one will provide for the health and happiness of your flock.
To integrate your chickens and land in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way, you need to provide fresh pasture to your chickens. For pasture-raised poultry, a mobile poultry house, sometimes called a “chicken tractor,” allows birds to access a particular part of the pasture daily or every few days. This not only provides your chickens with a no-cost food source, but their manure also acts as fertilizer for your land, and you’ll save money on bedding.
You’ll want to consider your birds’ food as part of a sustainable chicken farming plan. Providing them with a balanced diet at the lowest cost possible will positively affect sustainability. You can grow your own food or buy from a reputable producer.
Some farms prefer to ferment chicken feed for nutrition, egg production, and economic purposes. This process is rather simple and involves soaking the food in water before giving it to the chickens.
When feeding chickens, you get out what you put in, so be cautious about cutting corners. Bargain or homemade feeds that aren’t nutritionally sound can be limiting if you raise birds for production purposes.
Pasturing chickens creates a sustainable cycle that’s good for the land and your flock. Chickens will graze on nearly any type of crop, but if you have the opportunity to plant a pasture for them, include crops that will rotate in production to provide food all year. Chickens will spread their own manure in these pastures, scratching it into the ground and making it even more productive. And what’s more, all that healthy plant growth will help to prevent soil erosion!
Because poultry’s grain can be grown on the land where they’re raised, and chicken farmers only need about three acres to grow enough feed for 1,000 broilers per year, farmers can use the land for dual purposes, increasing profit. Add the fact that chicken litter can be used to fertilize the land that grows the flock’s food, and you have an even more lucrative arrangement.
When predators kill chickens, that hurts your bottom line. Protect your chickens in housing and fencing that keeps out rats, hawks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, wolves, weasels, snakes, and any other predators native to your area. A dog to guard your flock can also be a great idea.
Sustainable poultry production also means watching out for your birds’ health. You’ll want to be sure to order baby chicks from an NPIP-certified hatchery, like the Freedom Ranger family of hatcheries, because healthy chicks equal a healthy flock. You’ll also have the option to protect your chicks’ health with vaccinations against Marek’s Disease when you place your order.
You’re making your chicken farm more sustainable whenever you can use something twice or for another purpose for your flock. For instance, you can capture rainwater to keep your flock hydrated, use their manure to fertilize the land that will grow their food, and use their litter as fuel or for fertilizer for other crops.
No matter the specifics of your chicken farming method, you can be sure that adding one or more sustainable chicken farming practices will increase your chances of success. That’s because sustainable practices not only increase profits (because they decrease costs), they reduce reliance on cash flow and outside suppliers.
Get a solid start with sustainable chicken farming by purchasing healthy chicks from Freedom Ranger’s family of hatcheries. We produce exceptional baby chicks that are ready to grow strong and healthy on your sustainable farm. Get started today by scheduling your delivery of baby chicks!